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 Julien Parme by Florian Zeller (c. 2007)

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Posts : 123
Join date : 2008-10-22
Age : 51
Location : Geneva, Illinois

PostSubject: Julien Parme by Florian Zeller (c. 2007)   Thu 22 Oct 2009, 7:15 pm

I picked this up at a used book sale somewhere along the line. This is a French book (translated into English) about a 14-year-old boy who goes on a wild's night journey to try to get to a party to be with "the" girl (of his dreams from school). Because Julien is a bit of a delinquent, his Mom and soon to be "stepdad" are trying to get him to go to boarding school. So this night is also about his attempt to runaway and escape that reality. I don't know why, but ever since Paris, I love to read anything French I can get my hands on (translated). So far, this is pretty engaging. As most coming of age novels are, it's being compared to The Catcher in the Rye, but so far, I don't see the connection, other than the age of the protagonist. It's interesting to read how teenagers live in Paris and France, not much different from the U.S., but cool to read about.

This is NOT for the younger kid set, as there are reflections on sex, smoking, theft and such. But I think for those 14+ should be okay.



Review to follow.

Carolyn
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PostSubject: Review of Julien Parme by Florian Zeller (c. 2007)   Sat 24 Oct 2009, 6:39 pm

Review of Julien Parme by Florian Zeller (c. 2007)

This is a quirky little book loved in France but finding tepid reviews here in the U.S. It is the story of a 14-year-old boy on the brink of change (boarding school and his Mother's marriage to a guy he hates) and suffering through all the awkwardness of adolescence. He fantasizes about being a "great author" but clearly, has no idea how to get there. I think the comparisons to "Catcher in the Rye" are misplaced and I did not find this novel said anything new about anything. There are a few truly beautiful reflections about people, human nature (esp. a powerful moment where Julien reflects about two people he saw have seizures on the Metro - one well-dressed business man and one filthy homeless woman - the latter was left to die, the former had a horde of people assisting him) and how we ignore much of the suffering around us ~ yet we seem to be drawn to help people half-way across the globe. That said, it was not enough to make this book a success. Also, the ending is just weird, after all these expansive emotional and physical wanderings, all of a sudden, he just ... goes home, to face his fate (and we don't find out exactly what that is). It was like the author ran out of steam. Young Julien really isn't that interesting (some of the characters who surround him are though) and maybe that was why I did not care for the book. Overall, I do not recommend it. There are way better "coming of age" stories out there, by far.

2 stars out of 5

Carolyn
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Julien Parme by Florian Zeller (c. 2007)
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